Satellites now play a key role in monitoring carbon levels in the oceans, but we are only just beginning to understand their full potential.
Our ability to predict future climate relies upon being able to monitor where our carbon emissions go. So we need to know how much stays in the atmosphere, or becomes stored in the oceans or on land. The oceans in particular have helped to slow climate change as they absorb and then store the carbon for thousands of years.
The IPCC Special Report on the Oceans and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, published last month, identified this critical role that the ocean play in regulating our climate along with the need to increase our monitoring and understanding of ocean health.
But the vast nature of the oceans, covering over 70% of the Earth’s surface, illustrates why satellites are an important component of any monitoring.
The new study, led by the University of Exeter, says that increased exploitation of existing satellites will enable us to fill “critical knowledge gaps” for monitoring our climate.
The work reports that satellites originally launched to study the wind, also have the capability to observe how rain, wind, waves, foam and temperature all combine to control the movement of heat and carbon dioxide between the ocean and the atmosphere.
Additionally, satellites launched to monitor gas emissions over the land are also able to measure carbon dioxide emissions as they disperse over the ocean.
Future satellite missions offer even greater potential for new knowledge, including the ability to study the internal circulation of the oceans. New constellations of commercial satellites, designed to monitor the weather and life on land, are also capable of helping to monitor ocean health.
“Monitoring carbon uptake by the oceans is now critical to understand our climate and for ensuring the future health of the animals that live there,” said lead author Dr Jamie Shutler, of the Centre for Geography and Environmental Science on Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall.
“By monitoring the oceans we can gather the necessary information to help protect ecosystems at risk and motivate societal shifts towards cutting carbon emissions.”
The research team included multiple European research institutes and universities, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the European Space Agency.
The researchers call for a “robust network” that can routinely observe the oceans.
This network would need to combine data from many different satellites with information from automated instruments on ships, autonomous vehicles and floats that can routinely measure surface water carbon dioxide.
And recent computing advancements, such as Google Earth Engine, which provides free access and computing for scientific analysis of satellite datasets, could also be used.
The study suggests that an international charter that makes satellite data freely available during major disasters should be expanded to include the “long-term man-made climate disaster”, enabling commercial satellite operators to easily contribute.
Learn more: Satellites are key to monitoring ocean carbon
The Latest on: Ocean carbon
via Google News
The Latest on: Ocean carbon
- Sustainable ocean economy is the only way forwardon January 12, 2021 at 8:15 am
The ocean is indeed a great value to the world. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Global Change Institute, University of Queensland and Boston Consulting Group estimated the economic value of ...
- Rising Ocean Acid Levels Are Weakening Mussel Shells: UCSDon January 12, 2021 at 8:07 am
As the mussel becomes more tolerant of acidic conditions, the shells are changing to a weaker composition, according to the UCSD scientists.
- Rising Ocean Acid Levels Are Weakening Mussel Shells, UCSD Scientists Findon January 12, 2021 at 6:44 am
UC San Diego scientists reported Monday that increased ocean acidity is weakening California mussel shells along the Pacific Coast, a result of rising levels of human-produced carbon dioxide.
- Stop the Illegal Wildlife Trade: 50 countries pledge to protect at least 30% of world’s land and oceans by 2030on January 12, 2021 at 2:11 am
We are working with conservation charity Space for Giants to protect wildlife at risk from poachers due to the conservation funding crisis caused by Covid-19. Help is desperately needed to support ...
- A living carbon pump in ocean could help fight climate changeon January 12, 2021 at 2:04 am
Processes taking place in the deepest depths of the ocean act as a pump, taking twice as much carbon out of the atmosphere as previously thought. “In the first decade of the century, we published ...
- Ocean acidification is transforming California mussel shellson January 11, 2021 at 12:15 pm
The large mollusk known as the California mussel makes its home in the rocky shoreline along the Pacific Coast from Mexico to Alaska. Considered a "foundational" animal, Mytilus californianus provides ...
- Zero carbon shipping is a Biden-Harris win for the takingon January 11, 2021 at 7:30 am
The ocean is a powerful source of solutions that can help us reduce national and global emissions to tackle climate change.
- Rachel Kippen, Our Ocean Backyard | The salp, an unlikely relativeon January 9, 2021 at 2:45 pm
The combination of crystal clear visibility and plunging ocean temperatures ushered in what I can only describe as an underwater theatrical performance that rivals The Nutcracker. Nature, consistently ...
- Warming oceans may be choking off oxygen to starfish, causing them to 'drown'on January 7, 2021 at 10:49 pm
Warming ocean temperatures are fueling increases in organic material and bacteria that suck up oxygen in these watery habitats.
- Groundbreaking partnership to monitor ocean for signs of climate changeon January 7, 2021 at 7:22 pm
There’s no doubt that climate change has become a growing concern around the world. Now, scientific efforts are underway to monitor how changes in the ocean can affect our planet. The National Oceanic ...
via Bing News